Bible stories, facts and life experiences
I always ignored any teaching on leadership. I believed that the topic of leadership was best left to people who occupied leadership positions.
I wouldn’t concern myself with it because I had this erroneous idea that leadership training and books should be left for the CEOs of fortune 500 companies.
Of course, I was wrong.
But when did I realize I was wrong? We’ll get to that later in this article.
First, let’s look at how the simple mistakes of leaders can turn into a full-blown crisis.
In the book of Kings, we see how the rulers of Israel made the Israelites fall into sin, which caused God to punish the whole country.
The Bible made us understand that the demand of the Jews to have a king rule over them was the worst thing they could have done. Their kings made a mess of God’s plans and purposes for them.
So many times in the Bible, God made reference to the sins the kings made Israel commit. King David, a man whom God loved so much and gave him victory in every battle fell into sin. He gave the order to get a consensus of the people of God (1 Chronicles 21) — a great sin against God.
Because of this, the Bible says God unleashed an epidemic on Israel. Take a minute to think about the innocent souls that had to be punished because of the sin of their leader.
King Jeroboam, who ruled over Israel after the death of Solomon also led the people to sin and brought the anger of God upon them. During Jeroboam’s life, it was prophesied that God would abandon Israel, “because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin.” (1 Kings 14:16).
Later, when other kings of Israel sinned, it would be said about them that they did “evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin.” (1 Kings 15:34…)
In 2 Samuel 10:1, King David sent his condolences to Hanun after the death of his father the king. But because of wrong counsel, Hanun humiliated the King’s delegates.
David’s army dealt with them mercilessly.
So far, we’ve seen how the mistakes (sins) of a leader (king) can be detrimental to the people.
So how did I change my erroneous belief and became finally convinced that leadership is for everybody? It was John Maxwell who said “Everything rises and falls on leadership” Meaning that if the head is not strong, the body will scatter.
“Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter”
I had worked (volunteered is the better word) in a company where the team lead was not so much of a lead but a tyrant. He loved to hear himself speak and would not take any ideas, suggestions or opinions.
When he came on board, he came in with brute force and I instantly knew the team was headed for disaster. But since I thought leadership was only for leaders, I kept mum.
We did a downward dive to mediocrity, while lethargy became the order of the day. Teammates who were bursting with ideas initially just crept into their cradle because no one could face this Idi Amin.
Dominators tend to overpower people with anger and force. The Yorubas have a term for it. They say “O ko wan laya je” (please get an interpreter). And that’s what happened, we were dominated.
It took my reading ‘The 360 Degree Leader’ by John Maxwell to break out of my own cradle and say “Enough is enough”. What happened next?
I became the enemy, as expected. I was the loud-mouthed one who dared speak up against our dictator, worse of all, I was a mere lady. I had realized that anyone can lead from anywhere. You don’t have to occupy a leadership position before you led.
So I started to speak up, I pushed back at our team lead whenever he wielded his staff of office (anger and force) and I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. When other teammates backed off and crawled back into their shells, I stood my ground. I was determined to make things better.
Looking back now, I see how being on that team taught me so many things.
Eventually, word got around to the head of the project and the team lead was changed. The work was successfully done and everyone left with a lesson or two.
When companies don’t place priority on leadership and on training leaders, people misbehave. When Bill Gates approached IBM and wanted to license the Microsoft software to IBM, a ‘genius’ leader turned down the offer. Now, it’s estimated Microsoft can buy IBM 3 times over.
When the former CEO of Apple, John Sculley couldn’t revive the company’s declining life, they had to bring back Steve Jobs. When Wakanow needed restructuring, Adebayo Adedeji was brought in as the CEO.
If you do your research, you’d find that indeed, everything rises and falls on leadership.
But the moral of this article is this: “Never put people in places of leadership if you haven’t first tested or trained them”.